Self-help groups, hypnosis, clinic – My long way out of the eating disorder.
Today I’m standing naked in front of my bathroom mirror, looking deep into my eyes and thinking, “I love you!” For me these are big words, because that was certainly not always the case. Ten years ago I started hating myself, my body and my whole life. The eating disorder was my strategy not to feel my hatred.
I was 14 when I started to deal with my body image, because my body was not as developed as that of other girls my age, at least that was my impression. In the dressing room I compared myself and concluded: “My breasts are smaller, I don’t have a boyfriend yet and I have no experience with sex.
That was when I started wondering what was wrong with me. I was a teenager who preferred to put himself in the shade. I did it consciously so that the others would not see that I was bad. Today I know that it was also something that only I perceived. I never talked to anyone about it.
What’s wrong with me?
After having experienced for the first time at the age of 15 or 16 that diet and exercise have a positive effect on my appearance, I started various self-experiments and weighed myself several times a day, always with the aim of reducing the number on the scales.
I suddenly got recognition and praise for my appearance and the boys also started to take an interest in me; I felt much better in my skin. I wanted more of the confirmation from outside and the positive feelings that came with it. I thought that I could only maintain this state if I continued to lose weight and become even more beautiful, i.e. thinner.
At the beginning of my eating disorder, anorexia was the symptom. Of course I was afraid that I would attract attention, especially since my fellow men started to ask me at some point whether everything was okay with me. I then ate normally, at least on the outside, and vomited afterwards on the toilet.
Or I did excessive sport to get rid of the calories. In order not to be unmasked, not to have to talk about it and to be able to continue living my everyday life, it seemed logical to me. My eating disorder was my security and my strategy for security and love.
When I was really in love for the first time when I was 17, I thought: “Everything will be fine now, because now I can love another person and be happy”. But that wasn’t the case. I had already stored the triangle of fear, food and self-hatred as a fixed pattern.
I defined myself only by my appearance – my appearance, the number of my friends, the praise from outside, the achievements in sports and at school. Inside I was empty. I had already moved so far away from my actual desires and needs that I could not have said what I needed or wanted. Even though I thought I could love, it quickly became clear to me that I was jealous above all else, for which I hated myself even more.
“FOR MY EATING FITS I STOLE FOOD FROM MY ROOMMATE AND TRIED TO BUY THE SAME PRODUCTS AND PUT THEM BACK IN THEIR ORIGINAL PLACE BEFORE SHE COULD NOTICE IT”
My eating disorder had meanwhile developed into pure bulimia. Because I thought that my parents were to blame for my eating attacks, I decided to do an apprenticeship in Munich after graduating from high school. I needed distance. So I changed cities, but the eating disorder remained.
I distanced myself even further from myself, was only with friends or celebrated out of sheer fear of being all alone. Being alone – that was my panic, as I know from today’s perspective. I was dependent on the people I loved, because as soon as I was alone with myself, there was only one black hole.
Help! Help! Get me out of here!
After about two years in fear that the eating attacks and vomiting would not stop by themselves, I wrote a letter to my parents, my sister and my boyfriend. The fact that I told them about the eating disorder (and that she was able to admit it herself) was a first step in the right direction.
I wanted to do something, but most of all I expected someone to save me. I visited a
This was followed by the search for a therapy place. When I finally had it after months, I visited a deep psychological therapy once a week. After two years, however, I abandoned it at my own request because it seemed like a waste of time to me.
Even though I was desperate at that time and didn’t know what to do, there was still a spark of confidence slumbering in me that there was a better way for me, somewhere and sometime. Self-help groups, hypnosis, visits to therapeutic residential groups and day clinics followed – I wanted to know everything and get to know everything, but nowhere found me again and decided to go on alone.
Life went on like this for a while. I successfully finished my training in Munich, was taken over and decided half a year later to take a great job in Hamburg. After five years the relationship ended with my first great love. For me it was a very painful experience, because it was subconsciously the proof that I was alone. I was nothing.
MY EVERYDAY LIFE CONSISTED OF WORK, SPORT, PARTY, ALCOHOL, EATING FITS AND VOMITING
At the end of 2013, there were only two options left: to live or not to live. Since I am essentially a happy and positive person, I decided to live and gave myself one last chance by having a neurologist admit me to a psychosomatic clinic at my own request. This was one of many important steps on my way.
I broke off all contact with my parents because I still thought they were influencing my eating disorder in some way. I just wanted to take care of myself and find out who I was. What do I like? What do I want? What needs do I have? The stay in the clinic gave me a whole new understanding of myself. Even though my actual development only began after the clinic and there were many relapses, I trusted to find my way and continue it.
What remains without an eating disorder?
I started to deal intensively with my eating disorder. I tried to feel it, listen to it, see who it is and what it needs. I got to know her like a best friend. So it was no longer about getting rid of her, fighting her, hating her or rejecting her. Because everything I thought about the eating disorder was things I thought about myself.
I identified with the eating disorder, it was a fixed part of me. So I began to approach it lovingly, to accept it. Today I am even very grateful for the lesson I learned from the eating disorder.
Through various seminars, my environment, various workshops, professional development (I have changed jobs five times since finishing my training), mindfulness, coaching and even my own coaching training, I am so strengthened that step by step I have assumed responsibility for myself, my life and my actions.